Modern Pensées

Reconsidering theology, philosophy, culture, economics, and politics

Archive for April 2010

Economic Views in Conflict: Obamanomics vs. Milton Friedman

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Obama to Wall Street:  “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.”

Austrian economist Milton Friedman deconstructs a common objection to capitalism:

Your thoughts?

Written by Michael Graham

April 29, 2010 at 4:58 pm

Best Links of the Week

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Stephen Prothero, religion Professor at Boston University, deconstructs the reductionistic idea that all religions are fundamentally they same.

Amazing composite picture of the most recent solar eclipse.  Note the detail on the moon and the magnetic affect on the solar flares emanating from the sun.

Apparently, Google Streetview is also logging your Wifi information and MAC addresses.  This is not good if you care at all about privacy.  I certainly hope they reconsider publishing this information later this year.

10 Strangest Alternative Safes.

Stephen Hawking presents argumentation that belief in aliens is rational, mathematical.  If I affirmed macroevolution, I think I would be in agreement with Hawking on this point.

Incredible photos from Iceland and the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull volcano.

Andy Crouch (Culture Making) reviews James Daveson Hunter’s new book, “To Change the World

The Washington Times on “Financial Fascism

How Goldman Sachs Screwed Ghana”  Goldman Sachs has a number of folks in the Obama administration:  Gary Gensler (Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission); Mark Patterson (former Goldman lobbyist and Chief of Staff to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner); Robert Hormats (Undersecretary of State for Economic, Energy, and Agricultural Affairs); Stephen Friedman (former COO and Chairman of the Board of Goldman Sachs [he still sits on the board] now Chairman of the United State’s Presidents Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board); Henry Paulson (former CEO of Goldman Sachs, former Treasury Secretary, and chief architect of the nationalization of crappy securitized debt).  It should be noted that George W. Bush had deep relationships with Goldman Sachs.

And for your viewing pleasure, here is Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) skewering a Goldman Sachs Executive on one of Goldman Sach’s self-proclaimed “shitty deals,” it happened to be some CDOs: 

Nietzsche vs. Christianity, Part 4

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer

This lecture focuses on Christianity’s response to Nietzsche and the problem of Foucault.

Audio is available here.

I.  Recapping Nietzsche’s objections to Christianity:

A.  Intellectually impossible

B.  It demeans humanity

C.  Its morality is fatal to life

II.  In Christianity’s Place are Nietzsche’s Affirmations:

  1. Be a free-spirit
  2. Be curious
  3. Be nomadic

III.  Christian Responses

Abraham Kuyper

Dostoevsky – Brothers Karamazov

Blaise Pascal – Pensees

Karl Barth

Francis Schaeffer – true/livable

St. Augustine

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

IV.  The Problem of Foucault

V.  Talking Points

A.  Is the Nietzschean worldview true?

B.  Is the Nietzschean worldview livable?

C.  Does Foucault present a problem for Nietzsche’s worldview?

D.  Does Nietzsche really understand Christianity?

The Fool Says in His Heart…

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Hubble Space Telescope Image, "Mystic Mountain"

…”There is no God.” (Psalm 14:1)

Written by Michael Graham

April 23, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Doug Wilson and Neo-Conservatism

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Doug Wilson tackles neo-cons and gives some analysis on the conservative spectrum as well as some analysis on Ron Paul.  On a side note, if you are a registered Republican and don’t know what a neo-con is, you probably are one, and you probably aren’t really a conservative either.  I don’t intend to be mean here, but please inform yourselves of the nasty sub-current in Washington that has hijacked the GOP.

Written by Michael Graham

April 22, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Best Links of the Week

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Logos is offering free Greek and Hebrew paradigm charts!  Oh, how I wish they would have released these 5 years ago.  It would have saved lots of tiny writing.

Apparently, Iran will have nuclear ICBM capabilities by 2015.  Not sure why we aren’t doing something about this…

Article from a libertarian writing about the Icelandic free state, who from 930-1262 had virtually no government and where the private market supplanted everything from executions to fire fighting.  (HT:  Phill Graham)

Lookout British friends… Nick Clegg is the new Obama

Article comparing the relative birthrates among secularists (~2.1 in the West) and religious fundamentalists (~5+).  Time and some basic Algebra 2 will tell you that religion isn’t going anywhere (for better and for worse).

Fascinating New Yorker article on the future of books… also an excellent summary of said article by Justin Taylor.

The World Bank released all of its data on World Development Indicators.

Matt Perman has a nice article on how not to motivate people in the workplace.

Nietzsche vs. Christianity: Part 3

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Lecture 3 focused on four things:  1.  The intellectual backdrop to Nietzsche  2.  Nietzsche’s 3 main objections to Christianity  3.  Nietzsche’s positive affirmations in place of Christianity  4.  The Nietzschean Catechism.  Audio is available here.

I.  Intellectual Backdrop

19th century Western (Continental) Europe was unkind to Christianity.  Some of the major works floating around were:

The Origin of Species: By Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life by Charles Darwin

Replaces need for God in cosmology

The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

Inherently atheistic

On Religion: Speeches to Its Cultured Despisers by Friedrich Schleiermacher

Book basically splits Protestantism in two

Origins of the History of Christianity by Ernest Renan

The New Testament is essentially myth.  This revisionist history was seminal in classic liberalism and influential in the later Jesus Seminar.

The Essence of Christianity by Ludwig von Feuerbach

Christianity is superstition that will soon be replaced by humanism

The Future of an Illusion by Sigmund Freud

Humanity has invented God and this delusion is a kind of mental illness.

Prolegomena to the History of Israel by Julius Wellhausen

Wellhausen espouses that the first five books of the Old Testament were not written by Moses but by editors from four schools of thought.  A flood of Bible criticism followed Wellhausen.  Tubingen.

History of Materialism and Critique of its Present Importance by Friedrich Lange

Atomistic Materialism and Darwinism.

II.  3 OJECTIONS:

1.  Intellectually impossible (this is assumed a priori without argumentation)

2.  It demeans humanity (herd mentality, Dionysianism…)

3.  Its morality is fatal to life (slave morality, Dionysianism…)

Nietzsche is more concerned with assessing the damage that Christianity has done rather than tearing it apart limb from limb.  Nature was determinant and all metaphysics are to be rejected.

III.  Nietzsche’s Positive Affirmations

1.  Be a free-spirit

2.  Be curious

3.  Be nomadic (as well as will to power, master morality…)

IV.  The Nietzschean Catechsim

Nietzsche ends book 3 of The Gay Science with 8 hypothetical questions and answers (see page 142):

1.  What makes one heroic?

To approach at the same time one’s highest suffering and one’s highest hope

2.  What do you believe in?

In this, that the weights of all things must be determined anew.

3.  What does your conscience say?

You should become who you are.

4.   Where lie your greatest dangers?

In compassion

5.  What do you love in others?

My hopes

6.  Whom do you call bad?

He who always wants to put people to shame

7.  What is most human to you?

To spare someone shame

8.  What is the seal of having become free?

No longer to be ashamed before oneself.

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